Saturday, September 10, 2011
(tt) Sheldon booked me into the Metropolitan Room to see this incandescent performer with the voice of a thirty year old and the spirit of an angel
And here she is in the role that she is most associated with, Louisa in the original production of "The Fantasticks"
The show pays tribute to the vibrant world that was and now struggles to be. Miss Gardner interprets classics from musicals and revues from the fifties and sixties and in a great medley even honours the later babies like Rent and Stomp. She obviously spent much of the evening in memories of "The Fantasticks". Jerry Orbach is on the left and Kenneth Nelson on the right.
Mr Nelson was clearly a defining influence on her as a performer and friend and her stories of him and the show were rich and touching. She also told some great stories of her associations with Charles Nelson Reilly and Cecily Tyson.
She brought the show to a standstill with her interpretation of "On a Carousel" from "Jaques Brel is Alive..."
This tiny glittering lady is a powerhouse and was mightily supported by Alex Rybeck who created the arrangements and duetted on "It's You" from " Dames at Sea"
Sheldon was in that show in 1986 and we both appeared in "The Fantasticks" in a 1991 Sydney production that hardly anyone saw. In fact in the last week half of the theatre ceiling fell in and we played to the other very nervous half for three nights. Sheldon was a very grumpy El Gallo and I rattled and gummed away as Henry, the oldest thespian on God's earth. Now I don't have to act.